Terminology is the study of terms and their use. Terms are words and compound words or multi-word expressions that in specific contexts have specific meanings. They may deviate from the meanings the same words have in other contexts and in everyday language. For example, the term “dominance” in genetics and in ethology does not bear the same connotations as the same term in daily language. A term is, “a word or expression that has a precise meaning in some uses or is peculiar to a science, art, profession, or subject.” (Term. Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
Terminology consists primarily of the following:
- analyzing the concepts used in a particular field (e.g. ethology, learning theory).
- identifying the terms assigned to the concepts
- establishing correspondences between terms in the various languages
- creating new terms, as required.
Ethology and Behaviorism have different terminologies and we need to know how exactly these disciplines define their various terms in order to understand any statement in these fields and to offer an educated opinion or participate in a qualified discussion.
Example of terms belonging to ethology: instinct, drive, benefit, cost, dominant behavior, submissive behavior.
Example of terms belonging to behaviorism: stimulus, reinforcer, inhibitor, operant learning, shaping, conditioning.